Saturday, 4 October 2008


Posted by Helen
I always like to have the long wools. They have an irresistible lustre and sheen and look so enticing and some of you may have noticed that my dye sample are often a clump of long wool. It is so easy to pop a handful into the dye pot and they tend to take the dye beautifully with a sheen and a depth of colour that is somewhere between short wools and silk. I have dyed and spun Wensleydale, Leicester long wool and Lincoln long wool but this year I discovered Teeswater. I bought a kilo at Wonderwool and loved it. It has the length and lustre of Wensleydale but costs less. At Woolfest I bought another lot that has been washed . I understand that traditionally they used to run sheep through a river to get rid of the worst of the dirt and the grease and now they are doing this again but not through a river but a something more akin to a sheep swimming pool although I doubt it is heated. I have a picture in my head of a curly fleeced sheep doing a fast over arm through a pool with a disgruntled expression on it's face. I wish I could draw it.

I am not the only one who likes Teeswater. My friend Bettina likes this fibre too and has been dyeing it in tops form
If you want to get some yourself I found an excellent supplier at Teeswater wools who also tells you the technical stuff like staple length and fibre thickness.

Here is my most recent basket of dyed teeswater. Centre is cochineal, then at 1 o'clock coreopsis tinctoria, at 2 o'clock fermented madder and madders, 3-6 o'clock coreopis exhausts, 7 o'clock logwoods, 11, I am not sure -12 o'clock goldenrod exhausts.
Just in case any of you find these as mouthwatering as I do I sell these in an A5 zip lock bag full ( about 75g) for £3.50 +p&P


  1. what a wonderful color wheel. We are turning fall here and I am digging, drying, storing, dyeing everything I can get my hands on.

  2. Many thanks for the info on Teeswater - I'm always on the lookout for good homegrown wools.

  3. yep, I just love teeswater! mind you, it's not ideal for every project - a 4ply cable makes a very heavy yarn, and I won't spin that for an afghan again:)) but the sheen and smoothness are just gorgeous and the fibre takes the colour up extremely well! what I find really interesting: when I use perfectly smooth top - it always has a wavy look once the dyed top is dried! so the dreadlocks come back during dyeing!

  4. I too love Teeswater and we have a lady in our guild who has a few so I always have a fleece each year and your right it does take the dye wonderfully well and I like it for lace knitting and generally use the English combs on it .
    Re your post on my blog I have dyed Gotland too but of course it would have to be a strong dye .